NikkiSunT
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Building a raised bed container

Hi all,

First off I have never grown anything yet and am just starting. My plan is to start small with a couple of containers and grow herbs and maybe peppers and while I am learning about the basics I'll be working on building my own container.

I live somewhere where I am not allowed to plant in the ground. I would like to build a 4' x 4' raised bed or container to plant vegetables. Here are my questions:

When I buy wood to build my container - should I buy it in the size for the depth I'd like it to be (i.e. 2 x 8 or 2 x 12) or buy a few 2 x 4's and build up. I have seen both described in books but would like to know your opinion. Not having to attach 3 2 x 4 to have the depth I want seems like it would be better :)

Is there a specific type of wood that is better than others?

Should I let the container rest on the ground with some type of planting fabric barrier between my soil and the backyard soil or should I set it on stones or "legs" and have it raised about the ground with a piece of plywood on the bottom?


Thanks for any and all advice!

Nicole
:lol:

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rainbowgardener
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I think a lot of that is personal preference. I have several raised beds that are built of stacked 4x4" pine fence posts. They are cheap and very sturdy. The posts last a lot longer than boards would. I hold them together by drilling holes all the way down through the stack and pounding steel rebar in, down into the ground.

No bottom! You want your box sitting on the soil with no barrier. Break up the soil a bit first with a fork. Then your plant roots can grow down into the soil, which is what you want.

If you did the plywood bottom, unless it was very thick, it would be rotted out by the end of the first season, but it is pointless anyway. The only reason for the legs and plywood bottom is for people with disabilities who are in wheelchairs or can't bend over and need a garden raised to the height they can work at. I'm guessing that doesn't describe you.
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hendi_alex
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I think that your choices are strongly influenced by location.

Bottom or no bottom for me depends upon how close you are to trees or other plants which have invasive roots. For my beds that are near our oak trees, the bottom is lined with sheet plastic to keep the oak roots out. If the bed is resting on a barrier, then the minimum depth should be about 10 inches.

As for stacking versus solid wall construction, I've done both. The only downside to stacking is that the cracks allow soil and water to leak through. It makes watering the outer edges of the bed more difficult, unless you use some kind of liner on the inner walls.

I use treated wood, which isn't treat with the harsh chemicals of the past. Still the side walls are lined to prevent contact of the soil with the boards. Any dense wood should give several years of service.

Raising the bed to table height would be convenient for some plantings, but construction of a relatively permanent bottom would be a challenge. IMO the bed will likely look better, fitting in with its surroundings, if placed at ground level. That would likely make more sense as well for a beginner.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

NikkiSunT
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Location: Honolulu, HI

Thank you

Thank you both for your help and opinions! I'll probably go with no bottom but maybe a liner of some type between my soil and the existing soil since we are not allowed to plant in the ground.

Bobberman
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Something over looked that works very well is the small round kids swimming pool made of a heavy plastic. To make it work well did a 8 inch deep round hole and set the pool into the hole and fill in around its outside with dirt or compost. This makes it very strong and it will last for many years. I would also punch a few drain holes in the bottom for heavy rains.! You can buy these 4 or 5 foot round pools cheap at the most stores at the end of the year. I bought 10 of them last year at the general dollar for a $1 each at a 90% discount!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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rainbowgardener
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What did you do with your 10 for a dollar kiddie pools, Bobber, and how did it work out for you?
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Bobberman
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I used one of the pools in the greenhouse that I filled with dirt and planted parsley in. It grew quite well. I plan on using several for raised beds this year in some of my wooded areas that have lots of tree roots in the ground. If I can dig down a foor I can set them in place! I have a 75 by100 area that has erribl soil and red dog that I have been converting into raised beds and two greenhouses! Is too bad that my good ground id so far away from my greenhouses! My gardens are 50 miles appart and a weekend project for the greenhouses so far away!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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